As the Miami Dolphins training camp welcomed fans back, debuting their brand new facility, the audience was treated to a performance which saw both sides of the ball make plays. Now, here are some of the big highlights to take away from Day 4 of training camp.
The linebacker corps for the Miami Dolphins is proving to be incredible facing off against the offensive line. Now, it remains to be seen if this will remain the case when the pads come on, presumably on Tuesday, but for now it seems like Miami’s pass rush is a lot better than anyone assumes. Brennan Scarlett, Shaquem Griffin, Jerome Baker, Vince Biegel, even Calvin Munson. All of these linebackers made at least one notable appearance during Saturday’s practice.
It should be noted that Jaelen Phillips was held out of practice due to a minor injury. So his name being omitted is not a cause for alarm. But the linebacker spot is going to be loaded, particularly with Scarlett making a serious push. Of all the linebackers who practiced today, Scarlett made more plays than any of them. If that continues, Brian Flores will have some seriously difficult decisions to make.
Speaking of players standing out above the crowd. Former first round pick Christian Wilkins spent most of his afternoon playing against the second team unit. Now, this is not a detriment towards Wilkins. If anything, it just shows what kind of depth is available along the defensive line that Wilkins is relegated to second team duty. To really emphasize the mismatch, there were several occasions throughout the day where Wilkins had to either be double teamed, or he burst through the offensive line the moment the ball was snapped.
There’s no question Wilkins is more than good enough to play with the starters, and he’s certainly a lock to make the team. All this proves is that the defensive line will almost always be fresh, barring an outbreak of injuries.
Miami Dolphins training camp is making one thing very apparent. Albert Wilson is still an excellent wide receiver in the NFL, and he’s proving it beyond the shadow of a doubt in training camp right now. He and Tua Tagovailoa are building a remarkable rapport, connecting on huge plays throughout the last several days, including today. This time, it was a 63-yard touchdown on a slant that was threaded between two defenders, one of which was Byron Jones. Not only that, he made a diving catch in the endzone during goal line drills to bail Tagovailoa out of trouble.
— Miami Dolphins (@MiamiDolphins) July 31, 2021
If there was any question as to whether or not Wilson was going to make the roster, it’s rapidly disappearing. No other wide receiver on the entire team has made as much of an impact as Wilson so far. It’s not even close. Even Tagovailoa’s Alabama teammate, Jaylen Waddle, has not proven to be so effective at navigating the defense. Wilson is always open and making big catches. If they continue building chemistry at this rate, Wilson may have himself a career year. That will undoubtedly lead to a big contract in the offseason.
Big plays galore
The big plays did not stop with Wilson. All day long, on both sides of the ball, plays were made that if they were in-game, would turn the tide instantly. Going back to Brennan Scarlett, not only was he harassing Tagovailoa all day long, but he even forced a fumble out of Lynn Bowden Jr.
Zach Sieler dominated Robert Hunt and got a sack against Tagovailoa almost as soon as the ball was snapped. He also got in the way of a lot of runs throughout the afternoon.
Jakeem Grant leaped up and made a turnaround catch in midair in tight coverage, continuing from yesterday’s stellar performance.
Cornerback Terrell Bonds intercepted Reid Sinnett in the endzone, and then Jamal Perry did the same thing during the same drill against Tagovailoa.
Later, Tagovailoa weaved through pressure, kept his eyes downfield, and lobbed it up to Adam Shaheen who caught the jump ball in midair for a big gain.
All this to say, the Miami Dolphins are certainly going to be an exciting team to watch in 2021.
One final note before wrapping up these Miami Dolphins training camp notes. The team seems to have made a huge upgrade at punter. With Matt Haack now in Buffalo, Michael Palardy has come in and shown an incredible ability to punt the ball exactly where it needs to be for the perfect trajectory.
Gone are the days of 50/50 chances of either a booming punt or a shanked punt. Palardy is offering something the Miami Dolphins haven’t had for quite some time. Consistency.
On a related note, really liking what I'm seeing from Michael Palardy. Punts are beautiful, and usually I don't particularly care during camp because there's no competition really.
— Luis D. Sung (@LuisDSung) July 31, 2021
Practice MVP: Albert Wilson
Struggled: Noah Igbinoghene
Luis Sung has covered the Miami Dolphins for numerous outlets such as Dolphins Wire for seven years. Follow him on Twitter: @LuisDSung
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